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After the longest pre-election recess in history, members of Congress return to the status quo in Washington, DC this week for a lame duck session. Very few hearings are currently on the books, but you can expect there to be a lot of discussions over the next month or two about the looming fiscal cliff.
All eyes "in Washington" are on the fiscal cliff--well, except for those that are examining the details surrounding Benghazi and the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus.
Following a quiet week on Capitol Hill due to the Thanksgiving holiday, talks on the fiscal cliff are scheduled to resume this week as lawmakers return to Washington. In addition, there are a number of hearings scheduled on the House side that touch on issues of interest to hard-core followers of the entrepreneurial economy including: music licensing and intellectual property, energy R&D and capital standards.
Another narrowly focused week lies ahead as the calendar slowly gives way into the final month for Republicans and Democrats to find compromise and avoid a $500 billion mix of tax increases and spending cuts. Leading the way is a Joint Economic Committee hearing on the fiscal cliff itself—scheduled for Thursday. The only other hearing of interest scheduled at this point is on the impact of international tech transfer on American R&D.
As fiscal cliff talks continue amid mutual claims of ‘distrust’ from both parties, other discussions continue on Capitol Hill. The five FCC commissioners are scheduled to appear before the House Committee on Energy & Commerce this week to discuss spectrum auctions and other efforts to meet the soaring demand for wireless broadband services. The auctions were part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 and originated in the House Energy and Commerce Committee as Chairman Walden’s Jumpstarting Opportunity with Broadband Spectrum (JOBS) Act. Other hearings cover the future of NASA, tax incentives to promote energy efficiency and small business recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy.
With the holiday season approaching, almost all eyes in Congress are on the fiscal cliff deadline that is now only two weeks ahead. A recent proposal from House Speaker John Boehner with a couple of key concessions have led to a cautious optimism that a deal will be in place before long. In the meantime, the committee hearings schedule on Capitol Hill is quiet on the entrepreneurship front.
The 113th Congress was sworn into office on Thursday last week. There are 97 new members, but little change from the 112th. The Senate has 13 new members with the Democrats maintaining control -- increasing their edge to 55-45. The House of Representatives has 84 new members with the Republicans maintaining control -- slipping a few seats to outnumber Democrats 233-200.
Another relatively quiet week lies ahead on Capitol Hill. Several House committees have their organizational meetings scheduled while the Senate has yet to return. No relevant hearings are scheduled.
On the heels of the Kauffman Foundation’s State of Entrepreneurship Address, a couple of Congressional committees are taking a closer look at the economy. The House Small Business Committee is conducting a hearing on The State of the Small Business Economy that will focus on “current economic indicators that measure the health of the economy, with a specific focus on access to capital… (and) general economic concerns that small business owners will face in the coming year.” Meanwhile, the House Budget Committee will explore the Congressional Budget Office’s budget and economic outlook with CBO director Douglas Elmendorf and the Senate Budget Committee will look at the budget and economic outlook over the next 10 years. Other hearings include: comprehensive immigration reform, applications for IT research and development; innovation in education; manufacturing in American; outlook on energy and a review of the government’s approach toward unemployment.
Clear your schedule for the rest of the week if you plan on tracking all of the relevant congressional committee hearings. The “House side” of Capitol Hill is particularly busy with hearings on the budget and monetary policy with Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke, the impact of e-verity on immigration, broadband stimulus, regulatory hurdles and more.
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